The stakes are high in Georgia as voters flock to the polls to decide which party will take control of the U.S. Senate. The state has been under fire this election cycle from Republican President Donald Trump and his supporters after voters flipped to elect Democrat Joe Biden in November.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga. 7th District), a freshman member of the 117th Congress, told Cheddar that Democrats are confident voters will carry the party across the finish line once again.
“What we’ve seen so far is that in a number of the congressional districts, the ones that are very heavily Democratic districts, we are already at 80 percent of the November 3 turnout, and in the more Republican districts, we are much, much lower,” she said.
According to Bourdeaux, Democrats reclaiming the majority in the Senate, through victories for both Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, is essential to advancing critical pieces of legislation that can immediately aid Americans.
“It is everything from actually addressing COVID, getting some relief to families that is desperately needed, to health care and reform and making sure that people have quality affordable health care, investing in education, making sure that our young people today don’t have that ball and chain of student debt around their ankle. All of this is on the line in these Senate races,” she said.
Both Republicans and Democrats have eyes on suburban Georgia as voters in those areas were instrumental in pushing the Biden-Harris ticket to victory. But when it comes to the Senate race, the suburbs are a toss-up, where, in many instances, voters supported a presidential candidate but did not necessarily vote along party lines down the entire ballot.
Bourdeaux described the suburban vote as a “make or break area for Georgia.”
“The bigger problem is that it undermines confidence in democracy…”
The newly-elected representative is also calling on Americans to be patient when it comes to getting the results of today’s runoff races, particularly after it took officials five weeks to certify Biden’s victory in the state.
“I tell everybody, ‘This is Georgia and we have to be very, very patient and wait for all of the votes to be counted.’ We do expect it to be a close race and that generally takes a lot longer,” she added.
Congress will face even more adversity this week as the body gears up to count electoral votes in the presidential contest. At least 13 senators and 140 GOP House members are expected to challenge the results, which, according to Bourdeaux, is unlikely to bear any fruit.
“The bigger problem is that it undermines confidence in democracy. It undermines confidence in the idea that people’s votes count and we need to make sure that we not only address this challenge but that we renew our democracy and make sure that people understand that it does matter if you vote. It does matter if you’re engaged,” she explained.
If Democrats do manage to win in the runoff elections, Bourdeaux said the focus has to be shifted to restoring bipartisan agreement among lawmakers as well as re-establishing integrity of the voting process in the eyes of Americans, especially for those that have not accepted the president’s loss.